SRAP - SEO Research Analysis Package
It's a competitive world we live in. In order to make a profit, you have to bring your best game to play. Now that Linden Lab has released their new Google Search Appliance and has changed the playing field for search ranking, chances are good it's time you took another look at your store, its listings and how you might adjust those to improve your position.
The SRAP HUD (pronounced Ess-Rap) studies the exact same HTML pages that the GSA uses to generate Search Results. It compiles Keyword Lists, Frequency Counts and even provides direct TP links to duplicated Items within your parcel. Using the SRAP HUD, you can rapidly determine which of your preferred Search Keywords are under-utilized, over-utilized or completely overlooked. You can also determine which Items on your parcel will be included in Search and how their inclusion might affect your Search Ranking.
- 1 SEO - Search Engine Optimization
- 2 Search by Keyword and Search by Relevance
- 3 Pull Back the Covers with the SRAP HUD
- 4 Using the SRAP HUD
- 4.1 Basic Info
- 4.2 Dupe Locs
- 4.3 Top Kwds
- 4.4 Srch Kwds
- 4.5 SRAP Options Menu
- 4.5.1 Selecting Between Normal Saturation and Unique Saturation
- 4.5.2 Selecting Keyword Display in CSV Format
- 4.5.3 Parcel Name and Descriptions Keywords in CSV Display Mode
- 4.5.4 Parcel Item Keywords in CSV Display Mode
- 4.5.5 Selecting the Text Input Method
- 4.5.6 Removing Stop Words from the Keywords Lists
- 4.5.7 Calculating Keyword Counts - The Parcel Description Field
- 4.5.8 Include the Parcel Name and Description in Keyword Lists
- 4.5.9 Scale Keyword Density Results by the Parcel Area
- 4.6 Scanning a Remote Parcel
- 5 Basic SEO Concepts
- 6 Analyzing the SRAP Results
- 7 Revision History
SEO - Search Engine Optimization
The predominance of search engines (such as Google, Bing, etc.) has created a whole new field of expertise. That field studies how search engines crawl the web and councils clients on the best ways to improve their position in the results those engines return when potential customers use them. The end goal is to bring more customers to their website thus improving their income potential.
Merchants and sellers in Second Life face the same requirements. Somehow you must be able to put your name and your products in front of potential customers. Now that Second Life's Search is powered by the latest Google Search Appliance (or "GSA" for short), knowing how it works and how you can use it to your advantage is one of the most important pieces of information you can have.
Search by Keyword and Search by Relevance
The GSA starts by reading the data on a webpage, picking out words from the text and storing them in its database. When someone types in a few search terms, it looks those terms up and finds the listings that contain those words. But with all the 1000's of stores out there, how does it know which one to rank first? The answer is with a technique called "Relevance".
Relevance is basically how relevant the specific term appears to be to each particular store's listing. If a term is only mentioned in a passing way then it is probably not very relevant. However if that word appears often and in prominent locations then it is probably very relevant. However, finding which keywords are relevant and which are not is not an easy task. You may have a "feel" for what your listing shows, but with all those words and all those objects, are you really sure?
Pull Back the Covers with the SRAP HUD
The SRAP HUD looks at your store's web page, the very same webpage that the Second Life GSA uses, and analyzes it in the same way as the GSA. It pulls out the keywords, places them in frequency order and displays the results in a straightforward and easily understood format. Using the SRAP HUD, the mysteries of your store's listing and why it ranks where it does can be easily discovered.
Using the SRAP HUD
The SRAP HUD normally appears as shown to the right. Across the bottom of the HUD are the four buttons that perform the four basic functions. Those functions are:
- Basic Info - Compile and display basic information about the current Parcel
- Dupe Locs - Display TP Links to duplicated Items
- Top Kwds - Display the Keywords found on the Parcel's Items in Frequency Order
- Srch Kwds - Display only those Keywords containing the text you enter
All of the SRAP HUD functions are performed on the web page that corresponds to your current location. If you are standing on your parcel or in your store, the data it displays will pertain to your parcel or store. The SRAP HUD is designed to enable operation even on Parcels and Sims where the Parcel Option to disable scripts is selected, however it is not guaranteed to work in every script disabled situation. You do not need to be the Owner of the Parcel in order to gain valuable insight from the SRAP.
Note that for the SRAP to be fully functional, the current Parcel must be set to "Show Place in Search" selected on the About Land Options tab.
This function scans the web page corresponding to your current location then displays several lines of important basic information in the Local Chat window. The details that it displays are:
- Parcel Name - This is the name assigned to the Parcel using the About Land General tab
- Web Page URL - A clickable URL link to the web page used by the SRAP HUD
- Description - The description of the current Parcel as set in the About Land General tab
- Category - The Search Category selected in the About Land Options tab
- Rating - The Sim Rating and additional Parcel setting if the Adult Only or Mature options are set
- Owner Name - The name of the Owner or Group that owns the current Parcel
- Boost Value - An adjustment factor set by Linden Lab to offset keyword spamming and abuse
- Item Description Counts
- Total - The total number of Items on the current Parcel that are set to Show in Search
- Dupe - The number of duplicated (identical) Descriptions found on the current Parcel
- Unique - The number of unique (not duplicated) Descriptions found on the current Parcel
- NoSale - The number of Items set for Show In Search but NOT set For Sale
Using Basic Info
The image to the right shows how the SRAP HUD will appear when the Basic Info button is clicked. The function buttons are grayed out and the SRAP Logo is displayed above them. When the SRAP has finished retrieving the data it needs, the HUD will change to show the Parcel Logo image and the function buttons will return to their normal color as shown here:
Above the SRAP HUD are several lines of information about the current Parcel. The first line shows the Parcel Name and just below it appears the Boost rating. The color of the text depends on the Boost number assigned to the Parcel (where 0 is the best rating and negative numbers mean progressively worse). Below that are the Total, Dupe and Unique Description values for Items on the current Parcel that are also displayed in Local Chat. Also shown is the NoSale number that indicates how many Items on the Parcel are set for Show In Search but are not also set For Sale. This can happen when you place items on your Parcel that you purchased from someone else and that were delivered with Show In Search already set.
Boost Rating and Floating Text Colors
The color of the Floating Text will change depending on the Boost Rating. The colors of each Boost Rating are:
- 0 : Green - The best Boost Rating possible
- -1 : Cyan - The next step down, may penalize you some in Listing Rank
- -2 : Yellow - Much worse, most likely your listing will be well past the first few pages
- -3 and lower : Red - The worst possible. Boost Ratings this low guarantee you a horrible ranking placement
Parcel Name and Description Keywords
Immediately below the Detail lines displayed in Local Chat is the list of the Keywords extracted from the Parcel's Name and Description. The words are listed in alphabetical order with each word preceded by its corresponding count. For example, you might see a display similar to the following:
- SRAP HUD: Parcel Name and Description Keywords:
- 1 - 1-prim || 1 - 2-panel || 1 - blind || 2 - dg
The number before the hyphen tells you how many times that word appears in either the Parcel Name or Parcel Description. Note that words may begin with either a digit (0 through 9) or a letter (A through Z) and may contain hyphens, digits or letters.
Parcel Name and Description Keywords and the Boost Factor
The list of Parcel Name and Description keywords is very important because it can help you understand why your Boost Rating is something other than zero. The best value you can receive is zero; anything else can push you much further down in ranking than you wish. By looking at the words that appear in your Parcel's Name and Description, you can easily spot words that may be repeated too often and that might be contributing to a lower Boost Rating.
When you edit the About Land information on the General tab, within a few minutes the changes will be updated and displayed by the SRAP HUD. After you make a change, wait a few moments then click the Basic Info button again to retrieve the updated results. If it seems the numbers are not changing as you wish, try adding a special punctuation mark (such as an asterisk '*' or colon ':' in the Description and check that it appears in the information displayed in local chat.
The next function provided by the SRAP HUD is called "Dupe Locs" which means "Locations of Duplicate Item Descriptions". While not necessarily a problem, having duplicated Item Descriptions may not be something you intended. The Dupe count shown in the Basic Information above indicates if you do indeed have any Item Descriptions that are duplicated. Using the Dupe Locs function, you can rapidly teleport directly to the items and adjust their descriptions or remove them as desired.
Each Item Description that is used for more than one Item on the Parcel will be listed; under each listing will be up to five TP Links that can be clicked to teleport directly to the Item itself. For example, you might see something like the following:
- SRAP HUD: 3: (4) DG Flyer Sim-Wide Teleporter - The Ultimate TP system for Personal Use - Teleport without hassle
- 1 - secondlife:///app/teleport/Dirty%20Pleasures/73/12/623/
- 2 - secondlife:///app/teleport/Dirty%20Pleasures/115/3/1010/
- 3 - secondlife:///app/teleport/Dirty%20Pleasures/85/18/1517/
- 4 - secondlife:///app/teleport/Dirty%20Pleasures/120/16/22/
The first line of the listing shows which of the duplicated Item Descriptions this is (the number '3' in the above example), how many total duplicated Descriptions there are (the parenthesized number '4') and the full text of the Description. In the event that there are more than five Items with the same Description, only the first five are displayed on the following lines.
The Top Kwds (or Top Keywords) function will retrieve, sort and display all the keywords found in all the Items set to Show In Search on the current Parcel. Do not confuse these keywords with those from the Parcel Name and Description. The keywords in the Top Keywords report come only from the Items you have set to Show In Search. Typically these are your Vendors, Items for Sale, etc. but might accidentally include items you have purchased from others that had Show In Search set when you unboxed them.
The Keywords listed are sorted with the most prevalent word listed first followed by less prevalent words after. For those keywords that have the same frequency, they are sorted alphabetically. For example, you might see a list something like the following:
- display @ 17=10% || dgp4sl @ 14=8% || hud @ 9=5% || ultimate @ 9=5%
- free @ 8=4% || hassle @ 8=4% || memories @ 8=4% || perm @ 8=4%
This display shows you the specific Keyword, how many times it appears in your Item Descriptions and then the "Saturation" for this keyword in your Listings. There are two methods to calculate Saturation and the SRAP HUD supports both.
Using the Normal Saturation method, the SRAP HUD counts up every single occurrence of each Keyword in all the Item Descriptions then divides the count by the number of Items found on the Parcel that are set to Show In Search. Since the same keyword may appear more than once in an Item Description, the Saturation number (expressed in percent) may go above 100%. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but you will have to use your own judgement to determine if this situation affects your rank in a positive or negative way. The example shown above uses the Normal Saturation method.
The Unique Saturation method counts once for each time a word appears in an Item Description, no matter how many times it occurs. The count is then divided by the number of Items found on the Parcel that are set to Show In Search. Since a Keyword may only count at most once for each Description, the most the Saturation value can be is 100%. The following example shows the same keywords as above, but calculated using Unique Saturation:
- dgp4sl @ 14=8% || display @ 9=5% || ultimate @ 9=5% || hassle @ 8=4%
- memories @ 8=4% || perm @ 8=4% || receive @ 8=4% || settable @ 8=4%
Note that the numbers have changed for some of the keywords indicating that they appeared multiple times in one or more Item Descriptions.
The Srch Kwds (or Search Keywords) function of the SRAP HUD allows you to narrow down the Item Description Keywords reported to only those that contain the word (or word fragment) you enter. When you are attempting to optimize your Search Ranking, it is much easier to focus on just the keywords of interest without having to pore through every keyword trying to find them all. Since the Item Description Keyword list is displayed in frequency order, it is that much harder to spot every word or word form that might be important.
Entering the Search Word
When you click the Srch Kwds function, the SRAP HUD will prompt you to enter the keyword or part of the keyword using a random channel number. This is to ensure your entry is not displayed in local chat but can still be heard by the HUD. It is important to note that the Keywords reported will contain the word or word fragment you enter anywhere within it. For example entering "bar" will find bargain, t-bar, and bark because the three letters "bar" appear in each of them. The Search function is especially useful for spotting all forms of your desired Keyword no matter where they might appear in the full listing.
If you change your mind and wish to cancel the search for a Keyword, simply enter a single dash '-' and the HUD will reply with Keyword Search Cancelled.
Normal vs. Unique Saturation
Just like the full Top Keywords list, the Search Keyword function will report the Keywords it finds using either Normal Saturation or Unique Saturation calculation methods depending on the option setting.
SRAP Options Menu
There are several different options that control how the SRAP HUD operates. You can display and change these various settings by clicking the top portion of the SRAP HUD above the four function buttons. The Options Menu will then display similar to the following:
The options selected remain even when you detach and reattach the HUD. However when you rez the SRAP HUD (by dragging it from your Inventory and dropping it on the ground) all option settings will be restored to their default values. The default settings are as follows:
- Unique Keywords : ON
- Display CSV output : OFF
- Use Text Box for input : ON
- Remove Stop Words : ON
- Include Description in Keywords : ON
- Scale Density by Parcel Area : OFF
The Options Menu also allows you to scan any Parcel desired by entering its UUID as described in the section titled Scanning a Remote Parcel.
Selecting Between Normal Saturation and Unique Saturation
You can easily switch between the two Saturation Calculation methods by using the Options menu. Display the Options Menu by clicking on the SRAP logo above the four function buttons then click the Uniq Kwds button. Each time it is clicked, the Unique Saturation method will toggle, from On to Off or from Off to On. A large "X" appearing before the words "Uniq Kwds" indicates the Unique Saturation method is enabled.
Selecting Keyword Display in CSV Format
Most spreadsheet programs can directly accept data in the form of a "CSV" or Comma Separate Values list. When you are studying the Keywords for your Parcel, it is sometimes very handy to use a spreadsheet program to get a better overview of the words that are used. You can toggle between the two display modes by clicking the Show CSV button in the Options Menu.
Parcel Name and Descriptions Keywords in CSV Display Mode
The Parcel Name and Description Keywords shown in CSV Display mode will appear similar to the following:
- teleport, 3, 1, 2
- teleporter, 1, , 1
- teleporters, 2, , 2
- teleports, 1, , 1
The three numbers following each keyword are as follows:
- The total number of occurrences of the Keyword in both Parcel Name and Description
- The number of occurrences of the Keyword in the Parcel Name
- The number of occurrences of the keyword in the Parcel Description
Parcel Item Keywords in CSV Display Mode
The Item Keywords displayed in CSV Mode will appear similar to the following:
- teleport, 264, 1.320000, 136, 0.680000
- [23:31:06] SRAP HUD: Keywords 141 to 160
- teleporter, 260, 1.300000, 132, 0.660000
- teleporters, 256, 1.280000, 128, 0.640000
- teleports, 256, 1.280000, 128, 0.640000
The four numbers following each keyword are as follows:
- The total number of occurrences of the Keyword in all Items listed (Normal Saturation)
- The number of occurrences divided by the total number of Items listed
- The total number of Items that contain the Keyword (Unique Saturation)
- The number of Items that contain the Keyword divided by the total number of Items listed
Selecting the Text Input Method
One of the "hidden" features of LSL is the ability to display a simple text input box in the same manner as the normal drop-down menu. This function may or may not be fully implemented depending on which Viewer you use to access Second Life. It has been tested on Emerald Beta v22.214.171.1240 and works there, but other viewers and versions may not work. With the release of v1.0.3 of the SRAP HUD, you may choose to use this Text Box to enter data instead of the normal method of entering a slash "/", a channel number and then the data into the Local Chat window.
If the Text Box function does not work for you, open the Options menu and click the Text Box option to toggle it off. If it does work, when you click "Srch Kwds" you should see an input box similar to the following in the upper right corner of your screen.
Removing Stop Words from the Keywords Lists
As the SRAP HUD is evaluating the Keywords found in the Parcel Name, Description and in all the Items set for Show In Search, three are some words that it will ignore because they are generally accepted to be meaningless in most searches. These words are called "Stop Words" in the Search Industry. The SRAP HUD uses a list of words that is among the most common, however some of these words are also valid parts of product names, parcel names, etc., so sometimes you may need to see all the keywords without removing those stop words.
Each time you click the StopWords button on the Options Menu, it will toggle the use of the Stop Words list. When the large "X" is shown on the StopWords button then the Keywords returned by the SRAP HUD will not include the words in the Stop Words list. When the "X" is gone, every keyword found will be returned.
Click the following link to find a complete list of the Stop Words Used by SRAP.
Calculating Keyword Counts - The Parcel Description Field
When the GSA "Spider" indexes (or "crawls") a web page, it breaks the page into two distinct parts, the Title and the Body. The SRAP HUD treats the Parcel Name as the Title, exactly as does the GSA Spider. However versions of the SRAP prior to v1.0.6 only counted the keywords in the Parcel Description as part of the header information and did not include them when calculating keywords in the body of the Parcel page.
I have recently learned this method is not correct. The GSA Spider indexes and counts the Keywords in the Parcel Description as though they are part of the page body and not as part of the title. Therefore in v1.0.6 the option was added that allows you to choose which method is used when counting Keywords. The default method as of v1.0.6 is to include the Keywords in the Description as part of the Item Keywords report as well as part of the Title block. However you may turn this option off and return to the counting method used in versions v1.0.5 and earlier by toggling the Desc Kwds option.
Include the Parcel Name and Description in Keyword Lists
There are two opposing theories of how the GSA indexes the Parcel Name and Description fields. One theory states that the GSA considers them as separate text with their own separate weights. The second theory considers them as exactly the same as the Object Names and Descriptions. The default option settings for the SRAP follow the second theory; that the Land Name and Description are weighted the same as other Objects set to Show in Search on the Parcel. However you can change this behavior by changing the option setting to off.
Scale Keyword Density Results by the Parcel Area
One of the experimental options provided with the SRAP HUD v1.1.0 is the ability to "scale" the calculated Keyword Density against the ideal 65,536 sqm full size Sim. This option was originally provided due to evidence indicating the GSA was programmed to grant a higher rank to larger parcels, however it appears now that this method of ranking has been abandoned. Should it return sometime in the future, you may wish to try this option to help you make sense of the numbers and rankings displayed by the GSA.
Scanning a Remote Parcel
Starting with v1.0.4 of the SRAP HUD, you are now able to scan any Parcel in Second Life without having to teleport there. As long as you know the UUID for the Parcel, you can scan its listing, evaluate its keywords and determine its overall details. The UUID of a Parcel is displayed from the Parcel Detail Page visible in the Second Life Viewer v1.23 but is NOT available in Viewer 2.0 or 2.1. The Parcel Detail Display is also visible in other Viewers such as the Emerald Viewer. Because of this limitation of Viewer 2.x, you will have to find the UUID using the data displayed by the SRAP HUD.
Finding a Parcel's UUID
In those Viewers that display the Parcel's Detail Page in Search, the UUID may be found near the bottom of the page as shown here:
The UUID is shown highlighted in the above image. Using the mouse, you may highlight the UUID then copy it and paste it into the SRAP HUD.
You may also find a Parcel's UUID by copying it from the Web Page URL displayed by SRAP as part of the Parcel Details. The following image shows the UUID highlighted from the standard display text.
Entering the UUID and Scanning a Remote Parcel
Once you have copied the Parcel's UUID, use the "Othr Prcl" button in the Options Menu to enter it into the SRAP HUD. When you click the "Othr Prcl" button, you will be prompted to enter the UUID into Local Chat or into a Text Box (depending on the Text Box setting). The following image shows the UUID being entered into a Text Box.
After you enter the remote Parcel's UUID, the SRAP HUD will change colors to let you know you are no longer scanning the Parcel at your current location. To clear the Remote Parcel's UUID and resume scanning the local Parcel, simply click the upper portion of the SRAP HUD above the four function buttons (the same as when calling the Options Menu). Note that since you cannot call the Options Menu once you have entered a remote Parcel's UUID, it is best to make sure you have the options set properly before entering the UUID. The following shows the appearance of the SRAP HUD while a remote Parcel's UUID is active.
Basic SEO Concepts
The Second Life In-World Search function is powered by a very sophisticated search machine produced by Google.com. This means that it has many of the latest advances in Search Engine Optimization (or SEO) built-in. Making your listing or store appear in the search results can be as easy as making sure you have the right Keywords entered in the right places without going overboard and turning your listing into what looks more like Spam than real data.
However, there are no published limits or numbers that you can follow to exactly set your listing for optimal results. It is very much an art to balance the way your listings are written, what words they include and how you list them for Search while at the same time getting the most bang for the buck. Because each case is different, it is usually best to retain the services of someone specializing in SEO Consulting. However, if hiring a consultant is out of your range and you are willing to devote some time to adjusting and tweaking, the SRAP HUD can make your job as easier as it gets.
Analyzing the SRAP Results
In order to understand where your listing places (or "Ranks") and why it ranks there, you must be able to understand the mass of numbers the SRAP HUD spits out. Using the normal display mode, you can get a general feeling, but to really understand in detail requires analysis beyond just looking and guessing. If you have a spreadsheet program that can open or import Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet Templates then you will want to download the SRAP Parcel Evaluation Template. Full details on downloading the template and using it to compare your Parcel against others is available at SRAP Parcel Evaluation Spreadsheet
v1.1.0 - 2011-Apr-12
- Extensive reworking of "back-end" processing performed by our remote server
- Added Scale Density by Parcel Size option as experimental ranking factor
v1.0.7 - 2010-Aug-10
- Added decoding of special HTML characters in Parcel Info section (eg: apostrophe instead of ' or ampersand instead of &)
- Modified Stop Word List and updated Wiki to include the complete list of Stop Words
- Modified Logo Display to automatically clear when any function button is pressed
- Added Keyword Density Calculation to CSV Output
- Added Downloadable Microsoft Excel Template for easy analysis of CSV Output and Wiki documenation
v1.0.6 - 2010-Aug-05
- Changed calculation of Item Keywords to include the Parcel Description. May be turned off with the new Desc Kwds option.
- Modified display of Floating Text Color to handle new Boost Range (see Boost Rating and Floating Text Colors for details)
v1.0.5 - 2010-Aug-01
- Modified Remote Parcel UUID entry to use only the last 36 characters. This allows pasting the entire link into the entry instead of having to copy just the UUID.
- Changed sort sequence for Keywords to use String Sorting. This fixes the problem where sometimes numbers would appear after words.
- Added option to ignore the Stop Words list. This enables statistics for words that would normally be discarded.
v1.0.4 - 2010-July-30
- Added the option to scan any parcel by entering its UUID
- Added the Show CSV option to display keyword lists in CSV format
- Added Caching of Parcel Page to prevent Linden Lab's Gray Goo Fence
- Fixed Total/Dupe/Unique/NoSale Item Counts
- Changed default Saturation method to Unique instead of Normal
v1.0.3 - 2010-July-29
- Yet another permission problem with the main texture. Found and fixed.
- Added the option to use the Text Box for input of the Search Terms. May not work on all viewers.
- Changed the order of data shown in the Floating Text. Now reports Parcel Name on first line, Searchable Items Total/Dupe/Unique on second line and then Parcel Boost Rating on the third line.
- The number of Items set for Show In Search, Duplicate Descriptions, and Unique Descriptions were slightly off. This has been corrected.
- Added a count of the items set for Show In Search but NOT set For Sale. This number now appears after the Unique Descriptions count.
- Changes to the way SRAP requests Parcel Pages to help prevent the Gray Goo lockout problem.
v1.0.2 - 2010-July-27
- Due to permission problems with copying textures from one prim to another, the SRAP HUD would report an error: Could not find texture '00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000'. The error was traced down to the reset routine run at each button press and fixed.